Nordic celebrates 50 years

This year marks the anniversary of half a century of Nordic News. Follow the paper’s evolution from it’s start, in 1971, to the current age through the eyes of it’s staff members, both present and past.

This+year+marks+the+anniversary+of+half+a+century+of+Nordic+News.+Follow+the+paper%27s+evolution+from+it%27s+start%2C+in+1971%2C+to+the+current+age+through+the+eyes+of+it%27s+staff+members%2C+both+present+and+past.+Art+by+Minita+Layal.+

This year marks the anniversary of half a century of Nordic News. Follow the paper’s evolution from it’s start, in 1971, to the current age through the eyes of it’s staff members, both present and past. Art by Minita Layal.

The Early Years

History

The history of Nordic can actually be traced back more than 50 years ago, with the establishment of Inglemoor in 1965. First founded under “The Inglemoor Spectra,” it would be another five years before the name “Nordic News” was inaugurated; in the half-century since then, the paper has remained a cornerstone of coverage for issues both on and beyond the Inglemoor campus. 

Deborah Ruge was the second co-editor-in-chief of the Spectra in 1966. She said that the paper’s focus was originally very limited, only covering news occurring on the school campus. 

“I think we were born to keep the students informed about school practices and procedures, athletic events,” she said. “It was more oriented towards the school [and] didn’t really extend beyond into local, state, or national news interests because we were more sheltered.” 

Former Spectra sports editor Tom Carter said he also attributes the newspaper’s narrow focus to the culture of the time. 

“When we graduated in the late 1960s we learned, often the hard way, that society was far more complex and troubling than we had realized,” he said. 

Carter said that the events of the ‘60s, including the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the war in Vietnam, and the tumultuous events of the Civil Rights movement came as a shock, given that social and political issues had been largely ignored early in his life. 

“Back in the ‘60s, our generation was pretty innocent. There were a lot of things that really weren’t covered because they were controversial,” he said. “If you go back and see some of the old television programs from the ‘50s, [such as] ‘Leave it to Beaver,’ everything was presented as being so happy. It was a very suburban kind of neighborhood that we lived in here in Kenmore and that was portrayed throughout the nation. Life was kind of happy, happy-go-lucky, so to speak.” 

 

Accomplishments

A goal of Nordic News has always been to deliver relevant and engaging articles. Over the years, unique opportunities have allowed Nordic to interact with a wide variety of individuals, events, and topics. Karen Hansen served on the Spectra staff from 1966-67, first as the assistant editor and then as a co-editor in her senior year. She said that one memorable political moment from her time with Nordic was writing the article of Kathy Burkett meeting Richard Nixon.

“I am sure the one that will be most remembered by everyone was the report of Kathy Burkett meeting Richard Nixon. I believe it made the front page of all the Seattle area papers, and of course, the Northshore Citizen, which I think was still called the Bothell Citizen back then,” Hansen said. “We featured it in the student paper as well. I was honestly proud of the whole repertoire of our reporting contributions to the school at that time.”

However, important articles did not always need to be nationally significant. Cindy Couture, who advised Nordic from 1998-2001, said she felt proud of her students when the staff interviewed a Neo-Nazi at Inglemoor and managed to convince the student to change his views after a long discussion.

“A situation I felt proud of was when the editorial staff invited a new student, a Neo-Nazi, to be interviewed. They allowed him to discuss his views and treated him respectfully, although they disagreed with him. After the interview, I noticed a few of the staff members sitting with him at lunch and continuing to philosophize together. The student ended up dropping his views and became a normal member of the student body,” Couture said. 

In addition, Couture also said that her Nordic Staff were invited to attend the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s annual conference and even had the chance to organize a session. 

“We were the first Nordic Staff to be named a Gold Medalist Staff, awarded by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, and we were invited to attend their yearly conference in NYC, where we presented a session entitled, ‘Organizing 30 Randoms’,” Couture said.

 

Present Day

Changes through the Years

Over its 50 years of existence, Nordic News continues to play a unique role in the lives of everyone who is involved in its staff.

Nordic alumna Claire Shinner was a photographer on staff for the 2016-2017 school year. She said her time on the Nordic staff helped her decide what to pursue after university.

“I think definitely being on Nordic made me realize that I wanted to go to journalism school,” Shinner said. “It gave me experience which is great. [Experience is] the most important thing that you can have in going into journalism in any capacity.”

Shinner, a current senior at the University of Montana, said that she was initially torn between a career in journalism or one in psychology, and that her time on staff helped her to decide definitively to pursue a career in journalism. 

“I think that’s kind of what Nordic hooked me on, being in a collaborative environment with people that I like, and people who all work really hard to put out something that looks really nice, and they’re really talented,” she said.

Shinner was a staff member under advisor Kirsten Vesely. Vesely served from 2002 to 2017 and saw many changes to student journalism during her tenure as adviser.

“When I first came aboard [as advisor], students’ voices could be censored, giving districts the right to ‘prior review,’” Vesely said. “However, as of 2015, student journalists in Washington state received first amendment protections, making Washington the 14th state to extend free speech protections to student journalists.”

Vesely said that this means that school newspapers in Washington state, like Nordic News, are now truly student-run. Despite this, she said that the role of Nordic News hasn’t changed too much over the years.

“ A reporters’ duty is still and always to report the truth, to be fair and to write with integrity,” she said. 

Vesely left the staff in 2017 to take a position at the Northshore School District headquarters. However, she said that some of her best memories from her teaching career are from advising Nordic. Vesely said that her proudest moments as an advisor were helping students gain essential skills.

“I think for me it’s being able to say that my students walked away with skills they will carry with them for the rest of their lives: self-confidence, the ability to work closely with a team,  an increased desire to seek information and open their eyes to the world, and an understanding of the importance of using their voice,” Vesely said.

 

Nordic Today

Joanna Little is the current advisor for Nordic News, and took the role in 2017 when Vesely left. She said that her favorite part of Nordic is having late nights as well as watching the staff build relationships with each other.

In general [over] the past two years, the culture has been very serious and hard working while also finding lots of time for fun,” Little said. “It’s been the best of both worlds. [During] first late night, we usually had music blaring and tons of food and too many breaks and side conversations. And then the second late night you could hear a paperclip drop because people were so focused, and you just feel the brainwaves flying to get the work done.”

Much like Vesely, Little said that her biggest accomplishment during her time as advisor has been watching her staff learn about themselves.

“[My proudest accomplishment is] really watching my editors and all the staff members grow into leaders,” Little said. “The awards are really nice, but for the students who I get to have for two or three years, especially watching you grow into yourselves and growing up and realizing that you have the power to do amazing things feels like a really big accomplishment.”

Senior Miles Gelatt is one of the students Little has had for all three years that she’s been the Nordic advisor. Gelatt was inspired to join Nordic News because of his grandfather, who was a journalist for NBC. He said that being on Nordic has helped him in both his academic and personal life.

“[Nordic has] definitely made me have close relationships with friends,” Gelatt said. “I’ve become a better writer in other classes.”

Inside of Nordic, connections are being built daily, however, Nordic News does not only benefit those inside of it, as students feel the positive impact of the newspaper throughout the school. Nordic has served as a headquarters for news that students may be most interested in as well as fostering an open-minded community at the school, Little said. 

“The role of Nordic is to remind people of the really important issues that are surrounding us all the time, especially the ones we don’t talk about,” Little said, “Our role, also, is to make people really appreciate the school and community we live in, while continuously finding places where we can improve.”